Grammar notes: answering questions

Here’s an example of a question-answer pair that surprised me, not for what it is, but for what it isn’t.

电影院 网站 什么?
diànyǐngyuàn de wǎngzhàn shì shénme
movie theater de website be what
What’s the movie theater’s website?

Full answer:

电影院 网站 __。
diànyǐngyuàn de wǎngzhàn shì __。
movie theater de website be __.
The movie theater’s website is __.

Shorter answer:

网站 __。
wǎngzhàn shì __。
website be __。
The website is __.

Not: *它(们)的网站是__./*它的网站是__.

*它(们) 网站 __。
tā(men) de wǎngzhàn shì __。
3 (pl) de website be __。
*Its/Their website is __.

In English, we could answer “What’s the movie theater’s website?” with “The website is __.”, but I think “Their website is __.” is better.  It’s certainly allowed.

If I were a syntactician, I could probably tell you what to make of this.  But I’m not.

Note for non-Chinese speakers: Chinese has no equivalent of ‘the’.  So the shorter answer is the equivalent of “The website is __.”


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